Wednesday, May 22, 2013
A couple of weekends ago I was invited to meet the very elephants I had been photographing and painting in oils over the last several years. Someone had found my FASO web site, saw my elephant paintings, and forwarded my web address to Daryl Hoffman, the large mammal curator at The Houston Zoo, located in Houston, Texas. To say that I was excited would be a total understatement. This was my "African Safari" chance, only better I was thinking. Who can go up and pet the elephants on a safari? Who on a safari can look at an elephant eye to eye, or watch him patiently waiting for his share of peanuts, or his daily bath? I can not express how wonderful that day was for me, (and my husband who was busy taking photos with another new camera I might add) getting to meet Methai, Taylor, Baylor, Tess, Shanti, Tucker, Thai, and Tupelo. Baylor and Tupelo are the youngest, while Methai is the oldest of the "herd" (I am not sure I should call it a herd, since they aren't running wild), and fondly titled "Grandmother". Daryl seemed to be rather proud of her while he explained, "She is past her birthing years, but immediately gets involved with the new babies born here at the zoo. She is so sweet, patient, and very caring." Indeed she was, and very smart, too, might I add. The trainers all had their small whistles in hand, and bucket of peanuts. They could do more with those one and two-ton creatures than I can do with a 7 pound half-grown kitten that we have at home. They all know their names, spoken in soft voices by all the keepers, and they seemed to get a kick out of showing off for us. Baylor and Tupelo especially loved sniffing my feet with the wet tips of their long and muscular trunks. It did tickle quite a bit. Those little 'darlings" had no idea that I have super-sensitive feet, and even my husband gets "the eye" if he even thinks about touching them. But, who was I to try and tell a 1200 pound baby, “No, don't touch my feet, please"! Daryl was quick to inform me that they were picking up the scents from all of the places I had been. You could not have traded me a winning lottery ticket for that amazing experience. I am so thankful for Daryl’s kind invitation. I may never win a blue ribbon for my art work, never receive any high recognition from an art show, or be invited to join some wonderful fine art gallery, but none of those things could compare to meeting Methai, and seeing her love for the little ones, or Tess and Shanti with their cute antics, or Taylor, the only one whose face has been in television commercials, and loves showing off before his bath, or the honor of Baylor and Tupelo sniffing my feet. I mean, really, what more could any artist want?
If that didn't motivate me to paint more, try harder, work longer hours at it, and never give up, I don't think nothing else will.
Remembering and praying for those who lost their lives,and the lives of family members and friends in the horrible tornado in Oklahoma this last weekend. God strengthen them, bless them, and help our government to move quickly in aiding these people to rebuild their lives. God bless and help those who lost their babies.May you comfort them in the power of your spirit, the only true comforter in a situation like this.
Blessings, Sandra Cutrer